Italian cosmetics market stages marked recovery

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Cosmetics, Retailing

After several years in the doldrums, it appears the market for
cosmetics and toiletries is back on track, after sales grew by a
respectable 2.7 per cent in the country this year, the Italian
union of perfumery, cosmetics, toiletries and allied industries
(Unipro) reports.

The organisation estimates that in 2006, sales will touch €8.1bn, an increase on last year's performance, when growth came in at a disappointing 1.6 per cent.

And, according to Unipro, the growth was registered in all sectors of the industry, with every area reporting that sales figures were in the black.

Retail sales in Italy have been hit by an ailing economy, fueled by inflation and high rates of unemployment. In recent years several segments of the cosmetics industry have really struggled, especially sales for fragrances and mass retail outlets.

Indeed, these two segments both saw sales drop in 2005 - by 2.1 per cent for fragrances and 0.4 per cent for mass retail outlets. This year the trend has been reversed during the second half of the year, with fragrance sales recording a healthy increase of 3 per cent and mass retail stores recording a jump of 1.5 per cent.

On the retail side, the category with the biggest jump in sales was pharmacies, with sales leaping a respectable 6.1 per cent during the second half of 2006.

As has been the trend within the country's cosmetic and toiletries industry in recent years, it is exports that is helping to buoy the results. Currently domestic sales represent approximately 72 per cent of all revenues, the rest is accounted for by exports.

Unipro estimates that during the second half of 2006 exports will increase 5.9 per cent, a figure that is forecast to ebb off slightly in 2007, when growth during the first six months of the year is expected to come in at 5.6 per cent.

For the year ahead, Unipro director Dr. Fabio Franchina says that feedback from the asscociation's members suggests that in the year ahead the market will look more stable as increased costs start to have a slight impact on continued market growth.

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